Restoring the calm after the storm
With the possibility that climate change may result in a 15–20% increase in annual precipitation in northern latitudes, new solutions for managing urban floods and pollution problems are needed. The Stormwater project aims to mitigate the effects of excessive urban surface run-off generated from roofs and paved areas during rain storms and snowmelts. Several pilot sites have already been identified for the project, while initial lab tests conducted indicate the role of stormwater in treating pollutants.
“The Finnish market is developing rapidly in the stormwater field and we estimate huge market potential here through legislative regulations and by screening global stormwater solutions for the benefit of Finnish companies.”
Annukka Havas, Development Manager at the Lahti Science and Business Park Ltd
The project explores the seasonal quantity and quality of urban run-off and the capacity of the soil to reduce its pollutant concentrations. To help with this, new equipment has been purchased, including stormwater modelling software. The project is also working towards new, sustainable water management solutions that can be implemented in Finland’s urban areas.
Establishing a basis for best practice
The recently launched Stormwater project involves the Department of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki University of Technology, and Lahti Science and Business Park Ltd. By monitoring results of pilot sites, participants can gain knowledge about the quantity and quality of stormwater run-off. Laboratory analyses of lake sediment sampling and soil sampling will also provide information on contamination risks, particularly in industrial areas and city centres, and contribute towards new best management practices.
Knowledge filters through
By working with local industries (including plastics and chemical manufacturers), local markets stand to benefit with real stormwater management solutions and services. Co-operation and knowledge transfer between university and municipal partners is key: practitioners present real problems to the scientific research work, while scientific know-how, notably for cold climates, helps practitioners.
Ultimately citizens benefit through better use of green space in cities, better water quality and lower risk of urban flooding. Measurement stations and a bioretention test facility serve as demonstration sites for student groups, while short courses and local exhibitions help spread the know-how.
Stormwater tackles pollutants
The pilot sites identified are located in industrial, commercial and residential land. An underground detention facility at the central park in Kouvola is expected to be built this year, as is a new stormwater management system at Korkeasaari Zoo, Helsinki. Initial laboratory results suggest that stormwater is not a significant source of industrial-related pollutants in the environment. Tests show that it is important to infiltrate stormwater through vegetation and the organic surface layers of the soil, as this enhances the treatment of pollutants.
FundERDF over the period 2008 to 2011
EU InvestmentEUR 770 000
University of Helsinki
FIN -15140 , Lahti
Suomi - Finland
Web Lahti Soil Ecology Group
Web Department of Environmental Sciences - University of Helsinki